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The best things in life are free – we round up powerful synth plugins that won’t cost you a thing…
There are hundreds, if not thousands of VSTs out there, all with different shapes, sounds and price tags. Luckily for those on a budget, there are just as many free alternatives but like their paid-for pals, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up with a hard drive full of instruments and FX that you never use. We’re here to help with our round up of the best free synths you can download right now that will give any VST – free or otherwise – a solid run for their money.
Togu Audio Line are legends in the plugin world, having created a host of great plugins both free and paid-for. Their Juno-60 chorus emulator (now available in pedal format) is a firm fave of ours, while the TAL-Sampler emulates classic 12-bit samplers with amazing results. Pick of the bunch though is their TAL Bassline synth, an SH-101 clone that’s capable of some powerful low end and raspy filter FX. Grab it here.
Yamaha’s DX-7 was the sound of the ’80s, its FM tones gleaming and glistening across ballads, pop records and electronic music. It’s not only for re-creating Whitney, artists like Derrick Carter and Legowelt swear by the DX and FM sound. Dexed is a DX-7 clone plugin that re-creates the classic sound as well as giving owners of the real thing the chance to store and edit their own patches before sending them to the synth. You don’t need to own the hardware to download though, so get stuck in and re-create the authentic sound of the ’80s. Download it here.
U-he’s reputation for quality synths is up there with the best. Their paid-for offerings Diva, Zebra and Repro have all received rave reviews for their huge sound and powerful sound design options. Now you can get in on the action for free with their synth plugin Tyrell N6. Starting out as a project with German synth company Amazona, Tyrell ended up as something of a Juno-60 clone with some extra features thrown in. It’ll rival any major poly synth, in everything but price. Pick it up here.
Synth1 from Ichiro Toda became was one of the first ultra-popular freeware synths and despite it’s primitive GUI, is still used today. It models Clavia’s famous Nord Lead 2, a staple synth in thousands of electronic music records and – like most free synths – is optimised for the lightest CPU load possible. A great all rounder for pads and leads. Download it now.
Native Instruments’ Prism is part of their Komplete package and was created inside their modular software builder Reaktor. Based around what NI call a ‘Modal Bank’, it uses multiple resonators and filters to create otherworldly sounds and FX. Cut down from the full version, Mikro Prism is definitely the most unique on our list and is a good entry point to both Reaktor and NI as a whole. Grab it here.
Declan McGlynn is DJ Mag's Digital Tech Editor. Follow him on Twitter here: @holmesprice
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.
Glitter from Big Fish Audio and Sample Factory present a collection of modern construction sets with a volume of 3.5 GB. This handcrafted boutique set of pop, trap and RnB sounds offers creative styles from artists such as Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift, Post Malone, Halsey, Sam Harris and more.
Glitter is a hit new library with 15 radio-ready construction kits. Drag-and-drop ease makes using instruments like iconic 808s, snappy drums, stunning lead synths, sequences, emotional pianos, moody pads, synth guitars, and vocals, seamless. Along with the full drum mixes, we’ve included drum tracks and drum hits for each kit, providing you with maximum flexibility and control over the drums. MIDI files are also included for each instrument, which allows ultimate flexibility with minimal effort. This library contains multiple song section variations (A, B, C, D, E, and more), making sure you’re inspired and focused on creating and shaping your sound.
Glitter has been formatted in all the industry standard file types: Apple Loops, Acidized WAV and REX. Every piece of commonly used hardware and software will be compatible with at least one of these fully developed and usable formats.
Each audio file has been expertly cut and edited to loop perfectly, and has been recorded in the highest quality 24-bit rate to ensure absolutely top quality end results.
If you work primarily with Apple products, be sure to utilize the extra loop tagging functionality in Garageband and Apple Logic as well as Apple’s proprietary time stretching and pitch bending algorithms.
If you’re working inside Protools, Cubase, Fruity Loops, Ableton Live, Sony ACID, or any other DAW on the market, the Acidized WAV files are the perfect fit for time stretching and pitch bending capabilities. The Acidized WAV files can also be used as standard WAV files in almost any music tool in production today.
Beat-makers and artists who love sampled melodic slices can take advantage of our REX / RMX format that utilizes all the powerful programming found in Stylus RMX and the Dr. Octo REX player in Propellerheads Reason.